[BattleBots: S8 E13 is available online through Science Channel with a cable subscription.]
Normally I wait until the end of the article to vent about petty shit in my day to day life but that’s today’s opener because this is episode #13 and 13 isn’t a very lucky number. It took an act of god to get this thing put out on time. I got a bit of a late start writing this article and thought nothing of it until some nonsense from my job snowballed and ended up bleeding into the next day, and the next, etc. So right now it’s Wednesday evening and I’m just writing the rough draft of this goddamned article; normally I’m doing final proofing on Wednesdays so I can just wake up on Thursday and post this thing except tomorrow I’m going to also be at work again. At least I’m turning in more hours than normal this week which is good for pissing away on 12-packs of Tab and trying to get the last coin I’m missing from those Super Mario Wonder Ball things.
This week’s cold open somehow outdoes the previous one… and the one before that… and the one before that. Chris Rose and Kenny Florian are dicking around in the parking lot with what I can only assume is every single team who competed because I see literally everyone; some of the crew of The Three-or-Four Horsemen are there, both the guy who built Double Jeopardy and his stunt double, one of the Mutant Robots guys. Hell, I even noticed Miles Pekala this time around because he’s wearing that dumb hot dog outfit! Chris wants to take the world’s most inefficient selfie with “the family” but he gets prank called by someone asking him what time it is. Naturally, it’s robot fighting time so I’m guessing Faruq is the one orchestrating this madness. It certainly isn’t BattleBots founder Trey Roski because Trey speeds by in his goofy Segway complete with artificial sparks. He got that for his birthday during taping and he drove that around ALL the time. I swear to god the man was one Hawaiian shirt and a Loch Ness monster tattoo away from the perfect Paul Blart cosplay.
On the last episode I pointed out how we were going to start seeing robots complete their allocated four Fight Night qualification matches and be done with the season until the remaining 15 slots of the Final 16 are filled. Rotator has rounded things out nicely with a 3-1 finish, Ultimo Destructo went halfsies at 2-2, and Chomp.. well… Chomp showed up this year but I don’t think we’ll be seeing it again until next season. More robots are on deck to finish their qualification fights though and they include the likes of Red Devil, Son of Whyachi, End Game, Brutus, and Valkyrie (all at 2-1). Blacksmith (1-2) is also here to rematch against Minotaur who still has one more fight after this to qualify. But the real story here is Bite Force (3-0) and Bombshell (0-3) because there’s a possibility that we’re going to see someone actually finish their Fight Night card with a perfect 4-0 record.
RED DEVIL vs. VALKYRIE
Totally True Trivia™: If you put Red Devil in the red square and then chroma key out all the red… it’ll look like shit because red is a terrible color to chroma key with.
The last time we saw Red Devil I genuinely thought it was a miracle that Ravi Baboolal and his crew were able to put it back together because in an earlier fight with Monsoon this thing got busted open like some dumbass trying to fold back a convertible top by hand. Red Devil normally has some little pinching claws up front to grapple onto opponents so its saw can come down and slice into them (see: Witch Doctor, 2016) but almost every time we’ve seen this robot this year it’s had its steel plow attachment. First it was to ward of Brutus which turned out to be a false alarm because Brutus shit itself and died almost immediately, but then it went against Monsoon and I just got done telling you how that disaster of a fucking fight went. For all the damage it took, Red Devil bounced back and dominated SubZero. Red Devil used its pinchers against SubZero however, which got me thinking if its plow was completely destroyed. Turns out the answer is “no” but you can tell from how the light reflects off of it that the scoop is definitely still sort of jacked up. Props again to Ravioli Babioli though because that could not have been an easy rebuild — Red Devil is fucking durable.
“The little overlay graphic says Valkyrie has a 2-2 record right now,” you might be asking. “How come its driver gets a fifth fight? IS IT BECAUSE SHE’S A WOMAN? REEEEEE–” Okay well that’s what I get for trying to roleplay out a hypothetical scenario I guess. Yeah, Valkyrie has a 2-2 record, but that’s because it showed up for the Desperado tournament a couple episodes ago and as per the official rules of this season “participation in the Desperado tournament” counts as one Fight Night battle even if the robot in question has more than one fight during the mini event. It just so happens that Valkyrie followed in Minotaur’s footsteps and re-blew out Hypothermia’s asshole before losing to Lock-Jaw because the team used a stupid bar spinner that snapped in half like it was Ultimo Destructo. Speaking of, Valkyrie also managed to lose to Ultimo Destructo in a horribly boring match at the beginning of the season when neither robot could do a damn thing. I’ll give credit where due, Valkyrie pulled a 180 and spun right back around to destroy Predator and Bale Spear in a 3-way fight and, “Spirit of Boston” bar spinner aside, did a pretty good job in the Desperado tournament. For this fight Leanne Cushing and her team are using a six-toothed disc nicknamed “Sonic the Wedgehog”. For that pun alone I hope Red Devil wins.
The teams each mash their “ready” buttons and as Chris Rose explains how the average BattleBots fight plays out the editors cut to an extended shot of the drivers’ booth with that banner they keep digitally placing sponsor ads on top of. This time it’s for a movie called “AXL” that — as I’ve discovered — is not a Guns N’ Roses biopic but rather some movie about a robot dog. That’s too bad though, because 5secondfilms already made that movie and I’m positive it’s loads better than this new one.
Valkyrie gets a bit of a false start but I don’t know if that really happened or if it’s just something that came about as an unintended result of squeezing some extra seconds out of the episode to show us the banner ad for AXL. Red Devil tries to use its plow to keep Valkyrie at bay and either one of two things is happening here: Red Devil is using a thinner plow, or Valkyrie’s weapon is a fuckload stronger than I originally assumed. I mean I know it destroyed Hypothermia… but c’mon, if Ultimo Destructo was working it could probably beat Hypothermia too. Red Devil’s plow is getting chewed up right from the start which doesn’t bode well for Ravi and his team who really need a win here. Even worse, Valkyrie catches Red Devil from its front left corner and rips off a part that I can’t identify. Red Devil is made of 100% custom fabricated parts (which is why I don’t know what that is) so it’s not good when your bot is shedding parts that only exist one at a time until you CNC or 3D print a new one. Red Devil charges at Valkyrie again and catches the spinner from behind but lo and behold Valkyrie shows off another neat trick by demonstrating that its weapon can attack in both directions because its disc is visible through the robot’s ass crack.
Red Devil’s getting all the aggression points here, but things just keep getting worse for the demon because it catches a glancing blow and its left tread pod just says “fuck it I’m done” and departs across the arena. This isn’t a case of something like Duck’s wheel rolling across the floor after being torn off, this is Red Devil’s entire left side of drive just deadass cruising the fuck away on its own. Okay not “on its own” completely, because I know the tread pod is still getting a signal from the robot’s transmitter but god damn I had no clue Red Devil was this modular. Also this is the third fucking time this season someone’s been cut in half, the only difference is Red Devil’s getaway ship seems to have a mind of its own. It’s not going to be able to cohesively attack Valkyrie but could you imagine some crazy zombie shit like that happening? For now Red Devil’s left drive pod is imitating Thing from The Addams Family which leaves the primary bot with only one side of drive and somehow this thing is still mostly controllable? Is there some kind of fucking quantum entanglement going on or something? How is Red Devil doing this? Is this Robot Arena 3?
It’s cool that the sponsor for this episode is a movie whose name is pronounced “axle” because Red Devil sure as shit needs a new one. It’s not dead per se, but for all the posturing and cruising around that it’s still somehow able to do the robot has just been reduced to a mobile target for Valkyrie now. Valkyrie ignores the runaway escape pod and focuses on what’s left of the primary robot and just throws sparks off of what’s left of the plow and gets underneath Red Devil’s chassis to get to the good titanium stuff. Leanne said she was going to rip off all of Red Devil’s treads and through creative interpretation of that she’s a little more than halfway there because Red Devil’s missing a few pieces of its right pod. I’m not going to say she cheated by tearing off the whole left pod but I will commend her for epitomizing the phrase “work smarter not harder”. Kenny thinks Valkyrie might be having some drive problems or something but I’m not seeing it; Valkyrie is attempting to dodge Red Devil’s front end because the last thing it needs right now when this fight is in the bag is for its disc to catch Red Devil’s chewed up plow at an awkward angle and fuck something up. Red Devil is basically scrap by this point but its weapon is still 100% operational, it’s waiting for exactly that opportunity.
You’ve gotta hand it… I mean, “leg it”, to Red Devil. Not many robots can have an entire side of drive just detach and sputter away and still remain viable in the ring like it just did. It didn’t win the fight, but it gets my worthless stamp of approval. Valkyrie finishes its Fight Night qualification rounds at 3-2 with Red Devil right behind at 2-2.
WINNER: Valkyrie, Judges’ Decision (3-0)
BRUTUS vs. GIGABYTE
Totally True Trivia™: Gigabyte is painted red, blue, yellow, and green because Brent Rieker likes to color things with the crayons you get at IHOP.
The last time Brutus faced a shell spinner it was Moebius in 2016 and Brutus lucked out because as Moebius began to spin up to speed the robot ate its own batteries and straight up died by its own hand. Brutus came in and clipped Moebius to flip it over, but that fight was done literally one second in. Chris says Brutus has fought another “full body” spinner in the form of Son of Whyachi… but that doesn’t really count. Son of Whyachi isn’t a conventional covered shell spinner like Gigabyte or Moebius. This is the fight where we get to see if Brutus actually can take down a proper spinner. No guns, no gimmicks, just brute force. You may recall at the start of the season Brutus shit itself and lost to Red Devil by getting a little too eager with the accelerator. After dialing it back a bit and coming out a little more methodically it KO’d Son of Whyachi in one mega blow with its vertical disc and took advantage of a crippled War Hawk for an easy win. At 2-1, Brutus stands a fair chance of making through the qualification round assuming it’s not all talk and can actually beat Gigabyte.
Gigabyte enters this match with a 1-2 record, but don’t let that fool you into thinking this robot is on the verge of elimination. Prior to this match Gigabyte fought Tombstone, lost, and then just vanished for days while its builder Brent Rieker crafted a new weapon axle for the robot presumably while muttering some really unkind things about Chinese manufacturers under his breath. Much like Valkyrie, Gigabyte was selected for the Desperado tournament where (also like Valkyrie) it finished 1-1, so even though that’s two fights in literal terms it only counts as one on the books. It’s like buying donuts and being all like “hey these two are stuck together does that mean it’s one big donut at regular price”. (It’s not, that’s two donuts. Maybe that was a bad analogy.) Gigabyte still has no wiggle room to fuck around though, because 1-2 is a bad showing no matter how you slice it. The good news is Brent’s replacement shaft looks to be top tier 100% AMERICAN MADE because it held up for two Desperado rounds without blowing apart. The bad news is robots like Gigabyte are generally weak to giant fuck off wedges and plows and that’s literally like 40% of Brutus’ total weight.
Chris says it takes five seconds for Gigabyte to achieve top speed, Brutus is there in less than that and bumps the spinner into the wall. No weapon use from Brutus yet, though its disc appears to be coasting just in case Adam Bercu needs to rev it up quickly for an opportunistic blow. As Gigabyte reels in the corner it looks like it farts out a cloud of unidentifiable smoke which is kind of the opportunity that Brutus should be waiting for to come in for a cheap and decisive shot. But no, Gigabyte gets away and starts spinning up to speed and it looks fully functional so I have no idea what that smoke was, it may genuinely have been a real fart for all I know. AXL the robot dog watches from the sponsor banner as Brutus dives face first into a full speed Gigabyte and both robots get blown away from each other. Gigabyte flies over toward Chris and Kenny prompting the two to freak the fuck out and be like “there’s a whole arena for you to fight in please stop scaring me shitless”. Brutus is missing a chunk from its face after that exchange but it’s not holding back and continues to pursue Gigabyte with its leading wedge. I don’t know how this shit is being scored because Brutus isn’t winning any aggression points like this (because no PRIMARY WEAPON) but at the same time there’s certainly a significant aspect of “control” and “strategy” being employed here because Gigabyte cannot get up to speed and be stable for another shot. Fuck rules.
Gigabyte gets popped into the air by Brutus’ wedge which causes Chris to say “huge hit” but since he’s not the one who started that meme it’s not going to increment the counter on the homepage. Sorry. Brutus takes another hit from Gigabyte and loses the upper part of its left weapon bracket which isn’t significant right now because that only matters if the robot is flipped over and Gigabyte doesn’t have the capacity to do that unless Brutus just gets hit super hard and is blown the fuck apart or something. Gigabyte is shunted over toward the hosts once again and it seems that after clipping the spike strip and stopping Gigabyte’s shell is no longer operational. After juking around for 90 seconds this is what Brutus has been waiting for. Now it’s time to rev up that disc and put a crack in Gigabyte’s ass to rival the one Brutus chiseled into Moebius’. Adam demonstrates that Brutus’ weapon still works despite all the blows the robot has taken so far and musters one pansy shot on one of Gigabyte’s teeth. Gigabyte cruises in close to Brutus and somehow Brutus rides up on top of Gigabyte and in a split second as Gigabyte floors it to try and get away Brutus gets toppled and thrown onto its lid.
Normally this wouldn’t be an issue because Brutus has demonstrated in a previous fight that it can drive upside down. It struggles to right itself, but it can at least still drive. Well that’s when Brutus has both of its weapon brackets attached. Remember that insignificant piece of metal that was chipped off of Brutus a few hits ago? Yeah, turns out Brutus sorta needs that. Right now Brutus is twirling around and tilting forward at odd angles and generally just doing a really insulting impression of this season’s version of Bombshell. If that little piece was still attached Brutus would potentially be stable enough to still drive, but as it stands it’s just spinning its wheels and the ref counts it out while Adam watches on and pretends to be “not mad”. Brutus finishes with a rocky 2-2 and Gigabyte moves up a notch to join it with the same record. One more win would put Gigabyte on even footing with Valkyrie at 3-2 with a definite shot at qualification.
WINNER: Gigabyte, KO
BOMBSHELL vs. BITE FORCE
Totally True Trivia™: Mike Jeffries’ favorite video game is Canyon Bomber for the Atari 2600. Consequently, he’s never won a round in that game either.
Chris laments the fact that Bombshell has had a “rough schedule” this season and points out how its track record thus far has included Bronco, Lock-Jaw, and Yeti. Yeah? Well this robot finished in second fucking place last season. The only robot capable of stopping Bombshell was Tombstone… and I guess Complete Control Mk V too. Forgot about that one. But still, Mike Jeffries took home a second place trophy in 2016 so you really can’t complain about the pedigree of robots that it’s been drawn against this year. In order to prove that 2016 wasn’t a fluke Bombshell should’ve been able to hold its own against at least maybe Yeti or something, but every single one of Bombshell’s matches this year have been an embarrassing shit show and now the former runner-up is sitting at 0-3. It’s like Bombshell is trying to be the new Overhaul or something, I don’t get it. It’s really kind of fucked up that Bombshell has been drawn to fight Bite Force (the 2015 champion) for this fight but in a weird way not only do I agree with Kenny that this could be a moral victory but there’s also still some potential here; Bite Force was disgraced early on last season in a fight that should’ve been an “easy win”. Nothing is guaranteed of course, because the possibility of Chomp having some company in the 0-4 club out behind the Del Taco is still a very real thing.
When you bring up Chomp and Bite Force in proximity to each other you can’t ignore that fluke of a fight that sent the then-reigning champion home in 2016. One expertly placed shot on Bite Force’s weapon chain ground Paul Venividivici’s hopes of double nuts to a halt, but Paul was so certain of his design that he brought it back virtually untouched this year. The only change he made was a strip of metal to protect Bite Force’s weapon chain so that bullshit couldn’t happen again. He’s made more changes now since he’s been at the event, though. Formerly Bite Force was one of those robots you could play “Spot the Etek” with because its vertical spinner was powered by one. That same motor was used this year too, but only for Bite Force’s first three fights. Paul is so certain that this fight is a free win that he’s replaced Bite Force’s standard weapon Etek with this goddamned Hellraiser amalgamation of motors all linked together in this crazy-ass gearbox. Bite Force no longer has one large motor running its blade, but four smaller motors of comparable strength all chained up in unison. Paul has never actually tested this thing before, he’s only turned it on in the test box. This fight will be the one where we see if Bite Force’s Gearbox of the Damned can deliver the killing blow or if it just explodes and kills everyone in the first three rows.
Mike says he’s relinquished the controls of Bombshell to two of his teammates for this match. I’m not sure why. Mike knows Bite Force won in 2015, right? Now’s not the time to put anyone other than the most experienced and skilled person behind the fucking wheel of this thing. Oh look, Bite Force has already maneuvered around behind Bombshell. Didn’t see that one coming. Bombshell takes a blow to the front right corner of its chassis and gets rolled over. The team has had three fights to fix the fact that their robot can’t drive upside down. Has it been fixed this time? Nope. Bombshell is for all intents and purposes fucking dead by this point, but Paul hasn’t gotten enough hard data on his stupid Minecraft engine or whatever the fuck. Another whack sends last year’s runner-up reeling and it almost seems like Bombshell’s lost the use of its right wheel. That initial hit from Bite Force probably broke something because by my math getting hit with a weapon powered by four motors is like getting punched simultaneously by all of Goro’s fists in Mortal Kombat.
Bombshell is slowly corralled into the corner by way of Bite Force kicking it a bunch of times until with one final heave-ho Bombshell gets a massive divot cleaved into its face and the robot is once again tossed into that little tiny area outside of the arena where the bots are loaded in. I said this last time, when Bronco threw the robot over there, but that’s basically an instant win. I don’t know why the referee feels compelled to count Bombshell out, it’s fucking done you guys. Bombshell completes its Fight Night rounds with nary a win. Not even a close one. Alternatively, Bite Force becomes the first robot this season to finish its qualification rounds with a perfect 4-0 record. The former champ is most certainly back and Paul gets to upgrade to the premium VIP lounge that not only has catered PB&J sandwiches but also free Snapple.
WINNER: Bite Force, KO
SON OF WHYACHI vs. END GAME
Totally True Trivia™: It’s not illegal to tip a cow but you’ll probably be arrested for trespassing if you aren’t shot by the property owner first.
Next up are a couple of robots both at 2-1 for the season who are going to ride things out for one last qualification round to see who gets to show off a respectable 3-1 and who gets to go visit the church to pray that a 2-2 finish is good enough to make it in. In the red square is Son of Whyachi, the oldest robot here and surprisingly still one of the most dangerous in the field. Since its inception in the early 00’s this robot has been all about the spinning hammers. A former champion from a bygone era, this thing’s goofy ass name is where “Team Whyachi” came from. It’s a made-up word meaning, essentially, to kick someone’s ass really really bad. It’s exactly the kind of fake Japanese that you’d expect some white dudes from Wisconsin to make up but it doesn’t matter because usually when you’re drawn up to fight this thing the last thing on your mind is “lol that’s a dumb name”. Son of Whyachi, which Chris Rose has started calling “SOW” this late in the season for some reason, got off to a bad start when Brutus killed it in a single blow but the robot recovered and just absolutely decimated Lucky and Monsoon. Its weapon is as heavy as a middleweight robot and spins about as fast as a race car can drive. When you Whyachi, you DIE-achi. (You can have that one for free, Faruq.)
Jack Barker is one of our international competitors hailing from New Zealand, which is a lot like Old Zealand but better. I can’t think of any inappropriate stereotypes about Kiwis right now (which is probably for the best) so I’ll just say this dude’s no idiot. End Game is a robot he’s built at least once already and taken to China where he returned with the championship. I’m sure China was real happy about that by the way, they try to get the sport of robot combat going in their country and dirty foreigners like Jack and the dudes who built Spectre keep showing up and taking the trophies away. You assholes have to let China win a couple of times or else they’re going to give up and not do this anymore. It’s the same reason why when you play-wrestle with your kid you let him win at least a few rounds even though you know damn well you could take that little shit and put his head through the television whenever you goddamn want. Anyways End Game normally has a one-toothed disc for a weapon but because Son of Whyachi is such a heavy hitter the team has swapped out said disc for a flatter and more compact triangular bar. I think it’s still a “one-toothed” weapon but there’s no mathematical term to describe the shape of this thing. It looks like a slice of pizza cut by a half-assing Domino’s employee.
This fight lasts one hit. ONE. End Game wastes no time cruising across the floor, blade roaring, and collides with Son of Whyachi. Honestly in that regard this is sorta like Brutus’ fight from earlier in the season, except this one doesn’t kill Son of Whyachi. Don’t get me wrong, Son of Whyachi certainly takes one hell of a fucking shot; the robot bounces up into the air and helicopters down on top of the screws where its hammers rip into the secondary paneling of Lexan and just blows one of them the fuck apart. I was in the front row for this fight and the second this happened I literally just fucking ducked. I forgot that second barrier of panels were there and I legit thought Son of Whyachi breached the fucking arena and I wasn’t having any of this Final Destination bullshit on my vacation. Thankfully nothing dangerous happened, Son of Whyachi just smashed a secondary piece of glass whose purpose I think is to protect the LED light arrays from debris. Debris, not Whyachis apparently.
But End Game is dead. It must’ve funneled all of its life force into that blow because that was one incredible shot and that’s all we’re getting from the Kiwi team. Son of Whyachi crawls away from the impact and End Game is ruled immobile.
WINNER: Son of Whyachi, KO
After this fight I tried getting a piece of the glass that Whyachi shattered but was told that wouldn’t be possible for safety reasons, which kinda sucks. Team Whyachi didn’t get a souvenir either. But I can understand why BattleBots would prefer not to give out physical evidence that their arena is capable of being damaged by excessively powerful robots. You just air it on TV instead in the same shot as an ad for a robot dog movie.
SCIENCE CHANNEL EXCLUSIVE
LUCKY vs. REALITY
Totally True Trivia™: How many Dutch teams does it take to change a lightbulb? Four. One to do it, and three to come up with dumb team names.
I don’t remember when this fight was filmed because I’m pretty sure Lucky was virtually totaled during the Desperado tournament. I know some fights have been shown out of order, which didn’t really change the outcome of things in the end, but this one’s a little confusing. In case you missed it, Lucky was essentially reduced to a pneumatic “puncher” whose only applicable attachment of armor was its big “spinner killer” wedge. For this particular fight however, Lucky is sporting its separate mini wedges and original arm. I don’t know what’s up with that. Lucky’s had a rough life in BattleBots though, losing its first four career fights before the Desperado tournament gave it the second wind it needed. This year it only had two losses, but it was dominated pretty badly by Skorpios and especially Son of Whyachi. When it came time for the Desperado tournament I pinned Lucky as the bot to win it all despite the fact that at the time its career record was 0-4. You all called me crazy, but guess who made it to the Desperado finals? Fucking Lucky. It didn’t win, but Lucky’s luck has surely changed. Also I forgot what was on Mark Demers’ shirt that required it to be censored, maybe it was a movie with a robot cat.
While we’re on the subject of robots who’ve yet to win a fight, here’s Reality. Reality is objectively not that bad of a robot but it just seems to lack the polish of a real contender. It was built by four of the best Dutch robot combat teams out there and features some interesting design choices — like putting the weapon motor inside of the weapon itself — but when faced with overly aggressive opponents, such as SawBlaze and Duck, the robot just falters and craps out. SawBlaze very easily took control of the fight using its dustpan wedges and Duck wore Reality out to the point where its speed controller cooked itself. I don’t know if Lucky is the ideal opponent for Reality, but with the unique weapon it’s got and Lucky’s boxy and generous surface area this might be the best case scenario. Then again I think I may have said the same thing about Duck and we all know how that one turned out.
The fight starts and neither robot really asserts itself as the dominant one. Reality charges out first, but Lucky strategically goes for a corner of the Battlebox to reduce Reality’s potential range of attack directions. Reality gets some sparks off of Lucky’s front end while Lucky misses with its flipper and Kenny says it was a near miss for an “out of the arena” win. Look dude, that’s not how this works. Bronco chucking Duck “out of the arena” only worked because Duck is like four fucking inches tall, the gap behind those panels is maybe eight inches maximum, and Duck was at the perfect angle. Yeah it was a free throw worthy of being uploaded to YouTube in a basketball trickshot montage but that’s a very non-standard way of winning these fights. Reality might not even fit back there and besides, Lucky was facing the wrong fucking direction in the first place.
I feel like Lucky might be underestimating how strong Reality’s weapon is, and I sort of can’t blame the team for that because lord knows I’ve been making that mistake this whole season, because Lucky is just charging right in and getting all up in Reality’s face completely ignoring all the sparks and light hits. That’s why I think we were all collectively surprised when a particularly nasty shot actually flipped Lucky completely over and necessitated the first ever use of its flipper as a self-righting mechanism. It works, but it looks like Lucky’s drive doesn’t because the robot is right back to doing that scooting thing that got it counted out last time. The ref is already waiting to count this fucking robot down but Lucky is still moving pretty damn far with just one good side of drive. If Red Devil can do it, fuck it so can Lucky! More importantly though this hit seems to have really damaged Reality who is now just coasting around aimlessly. The other ref is like “hey are you guys dead PS don’t bullshit me I’m a ref”. To demonstrate that his robot isn’t dead, Tim Bouwens steers Reality over toward Lucky and lets loose one more brutal blow to its front end which apparently causes Lucky’s flipper to stick.
If the force from that first hit jostled something loose inside of Reality then that second hit really fucked it up because Reality just kinda glides backward for a couple of feet and dies. However because Reality was the last robot showing “controlled movement” it gets the win. It’s first win, actually. Lucky finishes its qualification rounds with a unique 2-4 record. Perhaps its performance in the Desperado mini tournament might be enough to save it, but I don’t have the highest of hopes for the Canadian team. The best Reality can hope for is a 2-2 finish and that’s not very good either.
WINNER: Reality, KO
BLACKSMITH vs. MINOTAUR
Totally True Trivia™: According to the bit from the opening of the episode this rematch was made possible due to a social media campaign organized by @meatballhoagie.
In the two years it’s been since these robots last met each other in the ring their first fight has been viewed more than 100 million times. A hundred million. That’s exactly 100 times more than Donald Trump’s small loan and that’s almost 1 in 3 Americans… even though the viewership is a worldwide sort of thing. Think about that though, lots of those views were from regular people who didn’t know what BattleBots was until seeing that fight. By getting his robot’s ass kicked Al Kindle has done more for the robot combat community than I have, that’s for damn sure. BattleBots Update’s likes on Facebook are only 0.004% of the total number of views from Blacksmith’s previous match against Minotaur. Al says Blacksmith has been ready for this fight all along, too. Last season’s Blacksmith was hardy, but vulnerable. This year the robot is sporting an upgraded hammer, better armor, and a new front end consisting of some forks to hopefully stab underneath Minotaur and allow Blacksmith to whip out THE BIG TIME HAMMER. Unfortunately it hasn’t really been non-stop “big time” for Blacksmith this year as the robot only has one win — The Four Horsemen — and two losses from Witch Doctor and Bite Force. 2-2 might not be enough to save the world’s most impractical weapon but a win here goes beyond that by way of harmonizing the universe.
Minotaur’s got a great driver, Daniel Freitas. I say that both because he is genuinely a very talented driver and also because he does goofy shit that makes for great screencaps like this thing where the editors turn his face red and add a bunch of sparks and shit. You bet your ass I’m doing something with that one. I’ve been told that if you google “prepare your anus battlebots” a picture of Daniel making that face is the first result (because I used it as a photo caption in a previous article). That’s a little disingenuous though because A) who is going to search for that specifically and B) searching for that just turns all of the image results into things from this website anyways so that’s cheating. For all the hype though Minotaur isn’t doing so hot this season. Minotaur’s first fight was a showdown with Tombstone as the main event of episode one wherein Minotaur lost by KO when it got stuck on part of the floor that Tombstone dug up like a fucking Pokemon attack or something. The robot was severely damaged in that fight but was patched back up to wreck Hypothermia and that’s where we stand right now. Yeah, Minotaur has had only two fights. Kinda crazy, so with a current standing of 1-1 there’s a lot of room for the robot to potentially rack it all the way up to 3-1 and go for the Giant Nut, but it’ll have to make history repeat itself here first.
Blacksmith has gone with the forks for this fight and you can tell they’re working, maybe a little too much. The robot keeps hitting every seam in the goddamned floor and also jams one of them into the Killsaw slots. Not a good start. With Blacksmith having to avoid every single irregularity in the floor you’d think Minotaur would just come in and rip it to shreds, but for some reason the robot is being very apprehensive about attacking. I don’t know if Daniel is worried about the hammer or what, but it takes a good 30 seconds before Minotaur digs underneath its opponent to try and run them into the wall. A combination of Blacksmith’s flat sides and Minotaur’s drum only running at 50-60% speed have resulted in the Brazilian robot being largely unable to uppercut Blacksmith as savagely as it did two years ago. Chris and Kenny are hoping for another hundred million views, you can tell from their commentary. They’re waiting for the hit that sends Blacksmith’s front armor off or blows its dumb hammer up or whatever, but that’s not coming. The closest they get is a whack from Blacksmith without its fire before the robot gets its forks stuck in the Killsaws again.
I’d say Minotaur is mostly in control of this fight seeing as how it’s the one doing the pushing here, and admittedly sparks are a little more indicative of damage and impacts than erratic flames. Something else indicative of damage is the fact that Blacksmith is now rattling around as it drives meaning that at some point Minotaur must have clipped or eaten off one of its wheels or something while it was ducking its head under Blacksmith’s crotch. Blacksmith was already having a hard time winning the arm wrestling match of who can shove who around but now it’s pretty much a guaranteed loser in that regard. Minotaur slams its opponent near one of its own Pulverizers and spends about 15 seconds shaving sparks off of Blacksmith while eating up its sponsor stickers. The Pulverizer comes down a few times and Blacksmith is just really dogging it in this corner until Minotaur comes in for a head to head blow and, since there’s nowhere for Blacksmith to go, the force of that hit is kicked right back into Minotaur who gets hurled backwards. Backwards, but not upside down for Blacksmith sadly.
Blacksmith is able to get out of that corner for once though and starts swinging wildly in these last few moments and I guess there’s a fuel leak somewhere because the whole robot just bursts into fucking flames. Maybe Blacksmith is channeling the spirit of its 2016 version, or maybe Al just borrowed replacement flamethrower parts from Gary Gin. I don’t fucking know. This was certainly a closer fight than these robots’ first one, but I unfortunately can’t see a scenario where Blacksmith had the upper hand. Catching on fire also probably didn’t help, that usually never does.
WINNER: Minotaur, Judges’ Decision (3-0)
Normally these articles are written and posted so soon that the fight card for next week’s show hasn’t been posted yet so there’s no speculation on my part. This time around thanks to everything going to hell with my main job I’m posting this article way later than usual and the robots in the next episode have already been released. Next time on BattleBots the following competitors will be ending their Fight Night runs: Tombstone, Bronco, SawBlaze, Duck, Petunia, Yeti, Axe Backwards, and Monsoon. That’s a lot of bots winding things down which can only mean that we’re getting super close to the final tournament of 16 kicking off. Lots of high-caliber robots are going to be wrapping up for the time being, but there are still some dark horses out there. Whiplash and Icewave both have yet to finish their qualification rounds, and so have Huge, Witch Doctor, Minotaur, and Warhead. Yet still others have confirmed they’re done for the season; both Sharkoption and Parallax’s teams confirmed they’re done at 2-1 and 0-2 respectively. Not everyone is going to make it to four fights, so even just getting there like Chomp and Bombshell is still worth something.
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